IT'S ALWAYS a bit of an event when an Apple I computer comes up for auction, but when the hammer comes down the sale price can vary wildly.
Prices can be anything from £10,000 to £500,000 depending on the condition, documentation and the right bidder being present.
The Apple I 'Celebration' that went up for auction yesterday was expected to go for a cool $1m (£756,000). In fact, it didn't quite get there.
The 'Celebration' had a blank green PCB board, meaning that it was a non-production model. It has been authenticated as the real deal rather than one of several runs of clones made by hobbyists, but it is a bit of an odd duck.
No-one can be exactly sure, but this makes it likely that it is one of the earliest machines to come to light.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has already confirmed that no Apple I that was sold (for the prophetically demonic price of $666.66) fell outside the two main production runs that he and Steve Jobs commissioned in 1976, so it could even be a prototype.
It looked at one point as if it was going to smash targets, but the last bidder on charity auction site Charitybuzz pulled out at the last minute, dropping the $1.2m tally back to a respectable but disappointing $815,000 (£616,000).
Taking into account the fluctuation of exchange rates and such, it's not yet clear whether this is the highest price paid for an Apple I, but it seems that its uniqueness hasn't really affected the price.
That said, the bidder has been advised to put it in a display case and leave it well alone, as with only 70 to 80 Apple I machines left (as far as we know) they're only going to appreciate in value.
That said, they do keep turning up in the oddest of places, including charity shops and a computer store where one had simply sat on a shelf for 40 years. Like Eleanor Rigby.
10 per cent of the selling price will be donated to the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society. µ
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